- Published on Thursday, 01 November 2012 15:25
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 170
I am blown away by the news I just received that Mitch Lucker, singer for Suicide Silence, was killed in a motorcycle accident last night. Metal Disciple send our condolences to all his friends, family, and fans. Rest in peace brother.
Buke and I were lucky enought to meet Mitch after a show back in February. He fucking rocked the place.
- Published on Monday, 22 October 2012 11:41
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 345
Today is one of those days where I wish I had just stayed in bed. The gods have apparently conspired to piss me off mightily and the shit just continues to roll down hill to yours truly sitting at the bottom. When I become enraged one of the first things I do is turn to music. I have a number of go-to albums that I call on when I need that certain burst of cathartic aggression to disperse my fury. So I decided that rather than being driven to distraction by my anger today, I will channel it into a post that might be useful to others.
I started out wanting to pick the top five anger-releasing albums, but as I browsed through my collection I realized this was too small a number. Rather than trying to stick with a nice, pretty number like 5 or 10, I just went through and grabbed all the albums I find myself coming back to in these situations. Many of them are older albums, having built up credibility over the years, but there are some more recent albums as well.
This morning I found myself listening to Goatwhore’s “Carving out the Eyes of God” and “Paradogma” by Hour of Penance. From start to finish these albums are great for working out unwanted aggression.
Job for a Cowboy’s “Ruination” album rocked me back on my heels the first time I heard it. The unrelenting fury combined with precision playing has made it another one of my regulars for venting.
The first two Deicide albums, “Deicide” and “Legion” are some of my oldest stand-by albums for unleashing hell.
Speaking of hell, another album that has been soothing this beast for years is “Wolverine Blues” from Entombed. It may not be as full throttle fast and furious as some of the other albums on here, but the bone-crushing heaviness along with some very appropriate lyrics makes this one of my favorites.
Probably the most commercially viable album on this list is “The Way of the Fist” by Five Finger Death Punch. While they would go on to become more commercial, their first album has some very raw and angry songs, several of which have great meaning to me.
Who knows more about pillaging than Vikings? Amon Amarth’s “Surtur Rising” is an incredible offering of Swedish Viking aggression. The track “Destroyer of the Universe” is the soundtrack to my own personal rampage.
I bet you did not expect to see Bolt Thrower on this list! Less of a wild and furious type of album, “…For Victory” is more of a premeditated and calculated tactical strike of destruction.
I sure am glad that Randy Blythe is now home where he belongs. He seems to be less enraged about his arrest than the fans, caring more for the pain and suffering of the family of the “victim.” Randy is a good guy like that. But his music is still a great way to release pent up anger. “Resolution” is my current LoG go-to album.
My favorite Children of Bodom album is “Hate Crew Deathroll.” The first two tracks alone, “Needled 24/7” and “Six Pounder” are worth the price of admission alone. “Angels Don’t Kill” anyone? I love the lyrics from “Six Pounder” that go “I refuse to be brought down by you; praise is far away from what you do.” This is just what I need to hear when someone is devouring my happiness.
Not many songs can say it better than Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile.” Not only is “Vulgar Display of Power” the greatest Pantera album, it is also a staple for blowing off steam.
Warbringer and their latest, “Worlds Torn Asunder” is another of the more recent albums which I turn to when I need to diffuse my temper. This is such a killer album.
Another oldy but a goody is Impaled Nazarene’s 1998 album, “Rapture.” They don’t give a fuck.
Alright, we are down to the two last albums, and these are my hall of fame albums for coping with unhealthy amounts of anger and frustration. The first is the classic Life of Agony album, “River Runs Red.” This album probably holds more of my blood and tears than any other. Not only is this album great for anger, it also doubles in the category of albums great for when one is extremely depressed. And since I tend to migrate from rage to depression, this makes for a nice transition album.
Lastly, we have the granddaddy of all extreme metal albums. If you take Life of Agony out of the mix, this album has probably been spun more times than all other albums on this list combined. I speak of course of Slayer’s mighty “Reign in Blood.” Whatever ails me, “Reign in Blood” is the cure.
Honorable mention goes to Overkill for “The Years of Decay.” While the whole album does not necessarily get a lot of play when I am furious, the track “I Hate” brilliantly spews venomous disdain and spite with such relatable accuracy that I would be negligent to not include it on this list. When this track is required I simply put it on repeat and listen over and over and over…kill.
- Published on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 15:28
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 404
What is the essence of heavy metal? What is it about this music that makes millions of people around the world defend its honor with such religious zeal? I am sure there are many reasons that are particular to every individual, based on their circumstances and experiences, but I believe there are some traits and themes which translate into any language and connect all heavy metal fans on a base level. True heavy metal does not concern itself with the fashions and trends of the world at large. Nay, these are the things which represent conformity and the death of self. Heavy metal does not worry about “fitting in.” Heavy metal walks to its own beat and does not understand why anyone would choose to do otherwise. Individuality. Freedom. Justice. These are the words tattooed on heavy metal’s bulging bicep.
Everyone at some point in their life can probably relate to feeling different from others, or has experienced being taunted by bullies; we have all felt misunderstood or unfairly pigeonholed. Who has not felt the stinging injustice of having someone else’s will imposed upon them, be it by their parents, a school, a religious doctrine or a government? These are the life experiences which cross all boundaries and borders and apply to all people everywhere. And like a big brother looking out for us, heavy metal is there to step in and say, “hey, fuck that shit.” Heavy metal understands that life is not fair, but it is willing to reach down, lift us up, put us back on our feet and dust us off. Heavy metal looks at us incredulously and says “Are you gonna take that shit? I say we go get those motherfuckers!”
Heavy metal also brings community to those who feel no connection with any other group. A person may feel utterly isolated and alone in the course of their day to day life, but put them in the middle of a crowd at a heavy metal show and they can feel the connection and camaraderie with thousands of other people. We may not know each other, but we are family. We are more than just family; we are legion.
There are many, many heavy metal songs which cater to these emotions (just check out any Manowar album), but there is one song in particular that for many years has epitomized the spirit of heavy metal for me. If you read the title of this article, you may already be salivating in anticipation of my announcing that the song I speak of is “Blood Red Skies” by Judas Priest.
Allow me to switch gears here and delve into a little Priest history. I got on board with Judas Priest around the release of “Defenders of the Faith” in 1984. Tracks like “Freewheel Burning” and “The Sentinel” are raw and powerful classics. For reasons I have never understood, (and honestly never cared enough about to look into) Judas Priest followed up this classic album with the ultra-commercial sounding “Turbo.”
I will be the first to admit that when it came out (and even now) I loved pretty much every song on “Turbo.” That was the point I suppose, to make it so more people would like these songs. From a purist standpoint, this was tragic, but honestly, like I said, the songs were still pretty decent. In doing a little research for this article, I found that originally “Turbo” was intended to be a double album called “Twin Turbos” and was supposed to include the material that eventually became “Ram It Down.” The band wanted to have one disc of commercially viable songs and another of heavier songs. The label nixed this idea and the albums were released separately.
The importance of “Ram It Down” lay mostly in that it marked the beginning of the return of Judas Priest to heavier sounding songs. It was the harbinger of “Painkiller.” Other than the title track, “Ram It Down” was fairly forgettable. With one stark exception – “Blood Red Skies.”
Despite the use of synths and what are likely drum machine beats, “Blood Red Skies” managed to captivate my imagination. First of all, the song was epically long for a Priest song; at nearly eight minutes there was no way this was ever intended for radio airplay. That leads me to believe it was a labor of love rather than a cash grab. The only other option was that it was a throwaway, and who invests that much time and effort in a throwaway?
The dangerous atmosphere and the defiant lyrics are what drove home that my new and all time favorite Judas Priest song would henceforth be “Blood Red Skies.” I doubt they were looking to create a song that would come to epitomize heavy metal, but, in my mind that is just what they did.
“Not begging you
I'm telling you
You won't break me
You won't make me
You won't take me,
Under blood red skies
You won't break me
You won't take me
I'll fight you under
blood red skies”
You know everything that I wrote about at the beginning of this article? There it is, summed up for you much more succinctly in several lines of lyrics. I am not going to beg you to allow me live my life my way; I am going to live how I choose, and you can try to stop me if you do not like it. You are going to try to stop me? Ok, but know that I will not bend or break; you will not change my mind or force me to accept your way.
“As the end is drawing near
Standing proud, I won't give in to fear
As I die a legend will be born
I will stand, I will fight
You'll never take me alive”
I will fight you with every ounce of my being and I will prevail or die trying. Either way, you may take my life, but you cannot break my spirit. Hell yeah! Under blood red skies.
Ok, the lyrics, taken in the context of the entire song, sound like some sort of combination of Terminator meets The Matrix, but the story is merely the vehicle for the sentiment. And the sentiment is “Fuck you. I am my own person, this is my life to live how I want; accept me for who I am or not at all. I do not care what you think. I will survive.”
Whenever I hear “Blood Red Skies” I tend to get goose bumps and, if I am alone in the car, I might even get a little misty-eyed. It has become my go-to song when feeling self-righteous or if I am in need of some extra backbone. In fact, the whole reboot and steady upkeep of this site which commenced in late 2010 came about because of a particularly emotional commute in which I played “Blood Red Skies” on repeat four or five times in a row. I was so inspired by that song to write this particular article that I reinvented the site so that I would have a means for presenting these thoughts. It took a couple years before I would sit down today to write this particular article, but the spirit of that afternoon has been present ever since, and has been a key part of the motivation to keep this site running.
I am sure that every metal fan out there probably has their own song that defines metal for them, like this song does for me. I do not expect everyone to understand where I am coming from, but I think a lot of people will. I would love to hear about other people’s songs and stories.
I offer my humble apologies if I have rambled or wandered too much during the course of this writing. That tends to happen when I speak from the heart and let the words flow out of me how they will. I rarely premeditate these writings beyond the spark of an idea; I just have an idea and run with it to see where it leads. I think that is pretty metal.
Here is a version of the song by Peccatum, featuring Ihsahn:
- Published on Monday, 13 August 2012 13:54
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 353
Way back on June 29th I posted about the new release of the book “Tales from the Stage” by Michael Toney. Due to time away and the down-time from redesigning and rebranding the site, it took me a little while to sit down and read this book. I would never make it as a book reviewer. I read way too slow. An album I can sit down with and listen to in an hour or so, but a book, unless I can focus all my attention on it, will usually take me several weeks. So, in the spirit of better late than never, I give you “Tales from the Stage.”
Author Michael Toney (who also plays drums) is a fellow Michigan native who currently resides in Las Vegas. In “Tales from the Stage” Michael sits down to interview fifteen people from various areas of the hard rock and heavy metal world. This includes musicians, such as Tim “Ripper” Owens, Tracii Guns and Steve “Lips” Kudlow, as well as media personalities like Eddie Trunk and Metal Blade label owner Brian Slagel.
Michael phrases his questions in such a way as to walk the reader through the various eras of the interviewee’s career, but he also asks questions that typical interviewers do not. Some questions are particular to the person he is interviewing, but other questions get asked of everyone, such as “What vehicles do you own?” or “Should marijuana be legalized?” I found myself to be always waiting for these types of questions (they seem to be mostly found towards the end of the interviews) because it was fascinating to see how all the different people answered and the trends that formed. In fact, at the beginning of the book Michael provides some statistics based on the analysis of these common questions. Interesting stuff!
The only person in the book I was not previously aware of was drummer Brian Tichy. I have apparently heard him before, but I did not know his name. Everyone else I had at least a passing knowledge of, and thus I found all the interviews particularly engaging. My favorites included Chris Holmes and Steve “Lips” Kudlow from the pool of musicians. I have been a fan of these guys for years, so it was entertaining to read about them; Chris, because I have not heard much from him since his ill-fated appearance in “The Decline of Western Civilization part II: The Metal Years,” and Lips because they talk about how the Anvil documentary came to be and what has happened since.
Two other interviews that caught my attention were the ones with Eddie Trunk and Brian Slagel; musicians get interviewed all the time, many of them by Eddie Trunk, but to hear Eddie’s story was something new for me. Brian Slagel. The name is legend. Founder of Metal Blade records, Brian is responsible for bringing us so many brilliant albums over the years, but I rarely hear anything about the man himself. I love that Michael interviewed him.
I could go on, but that would take all the fun out of discovering this book. Pick up the book for yourself at Tales from the Stage. I enjoyed this book immensely. It made me want to reconnect with some artists I have not listened to in years. It may do the same for you, or even introduce you to some great music you never even knew existed. Go show Michael some love!
- Published on Monday, 16 July 2012 15:36
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 255
In metal circles, there has been a lot of talk these last few weeks about the arrest of (and subsequent denial of bail) of Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe in the Czech Republic. There has been next to nothing about this in the mainstream press. Randy stands accused of manslaughter based on an incident that occurred at a show on May 24th, 2010. A 19-year old fan broke the rules and climbed up on the stage and was knocked off again by Randy. Apparently the 19 year old landed on his head and died a month later from bleeding in the brain.
Let me start by saying I am of course terribly sorry to hear of the passing of another metal brother, and I feel for the loss of his friends and family. I, however, would like to point out a few things.
First of all, this kid broke the rules by getting up on the stage, and in doing so took upon himself the risk of getting hurt. Musicians get up on the stage to entertain, and are frequently bombarded by the not-so-innocent crowd members who feel it is their right to throw objects at bands they do not like. Being up on that stage makes musicians a target, and a fan getting up on the stage is an invasion of the band’s personal space. If a fan gets up there, the band has no idea what that person might do. I do not think anyone in the metal community needs to be reminded of what happened to Dime when a “fan” got on stage. Anyone who gets on a stage should expect to be un-gently removed, whether by security or the band themselves.
This is heavy metal people. Anyone who has been to a show knows there are rules, and there are also the unwritten rules of the pit. The pit is a mass of “good, friendly, violent fun” but whenever someone goes down to the ground half a dozen people lunge to bring them to their feet before they can be trampled. We have each other’s backs. Crowd surfing, retarded as that is, is another instance where we do our best to keep people from hitting the ground. Getting up on stage is a different matter. There tends to be a barrier and a gap between the stage and crowd, an area where security can patrol. If someone is up on a stage and then jump or get shoved off, unless the security is watching, there is not likely to be anyone there to catch the person. Needless to say, getting on the stage is a pretty stupid thing to do. Anyone who goes into the pit, or does something stupid like getting on the stage, knows they are responsible for their own actions and could be hurt in the process. Laying the blame elsewhere is just plain stupid.
A number of years ago Buke and I were at a Manowar/Rhapsody show in Baltimore where we saw an instance of stupidity in action. It did not involve the stage, but it goes to show how stupid fans can be.
Buke and I were watching the show on the floor (this was at Sonar, where there is nothing but floor) and talking to this guy that we knew from other local shows. The place was not all that full, and we were probably around the middle of the room. Some jackass behind us kept getting all wild and shoving into the back of people. There was not a pit, just one guy acting out. The dumbass kept knocking hard into the guy we were talking to, and our acquaintance repeatedly told the guy to cut his shit out, which the dude ignored.
Eventually, our acquaintance turned around and shoved the idiot. He did not exert any excessive force or hit the guy; he just shoved him to protect his personal space. Dude made like a plank and just fell straight back with his arms at his side and fell smack down on the pavement hitting his head hard. The guy was out cold, pissed his pants and may have been bleeding from the back of his head; I do not recall. The police came, Buke and I gave statements, and the dumbass was carted off to a hospital. I wonder to this day whether the guy lived or died; he looked pretty fucked up. Whatever happened to him was too bad. You do not wish that shit on anyone, but he brought this upon himself. No one there, even his friends, could deny that he was being an ass and would still be enjoying the show if he would have just kept his shit together.
Arresting Randy Blythe for defending himself and his band mates, for protecting his stage, is horse shit. If anyone (other than the fan himself) is to blame, it should be the venue’s security personnel that were lax on their duties and let the fan get on the stage in the first place. I was not there, and have not seen any video of the incident, but based on what I have read in the news that is the position I am taking.
An average person is not likely to have the perspective of having to deal with out of control fans, but bands of a certain level of popularity have to take this into account all the time. They have no idea whether the fan approaching them is going to shake their hand or shoot them in the head.
It is a shame that 19-year old fan, Daniel N., is no longer with us, but that does not make it right to hold Randy Blythe in a foreign country and deny him bail. I support Randy and will do anything within my power to see him back him in Richmond, Virginia where he belongs.
FREE RANDY BLYTHE